I used to collect browsers way back when, I don’t anymore although I do check out different browsers on occasion. This conversation started me thinking about why I don’t care much about browsers anymore.
- Back in the early oughts there was a race to add features to the browsers. Each browser had a different feature set, UI and different resulting workflow. It was fun to test them and see how they fit in with my routine.
- There were more rendering engines which made switching between browsers and adventure.
- Everyone was on dialup. Speed really mattered. Today, not so much.
- Security. One reason I used Opera was because it was a little more secure against exploits having an oddball rendering engine. It also didn’t auto download things from websites the way IE did.
Somewhere along the line, minimalism became the mantra for browsers. All the neat stuff so lovingly added to browsers in the early years started getting stripped out. It sort of made all browsers the same. Yawn.
We defeated the IE mono-culture for awhile to slowly have it replaced by the new Chrome mono-culture while Firefox seemed to drift for awhile. Apple developed Safari, but then quit the Windows field. Many of the smaller Open Source browsers never quite seemed to ever be finished. Opera got sold and the new owners ripped the guts out of it to make it minimalist.
In the end, almost all browsers seemed to be alike claiming to be: fast, clean, minimalist but maybe extendable, tabbed, and boring. And if you use Chrome, also loaded with Google spyware which you probably can’t shut off even if they provide you with an alleged switch buried deeply in the UI.
Mainly I use one browser on each device, with a second as a rarely used backup/second opinion. The days of having 4 or 5 browsers are for me pretty much over.
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